Country Listing

Austria Table of Contents



Government: Federal republic with nine provinces, each with own assembly and government. 1920 constitution, revised 1929, forms constitutional basis of government. Government consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches. President head of state, elected every six years by popular vote. Executive headed by chancellor (prime minister) and cabinet, which reflect party composition of parliament. Legislative power vested in bicameral parliament consisting of Nationalrat (National Council) and Bundesrat (Federal Council). Nationalrat primary legislative power, with 183 popularly elected members; Bundesrat represents the provinces with sixty-three members elected by provincial assemblies. Independent judiciary.

Legal System: Supreme Court for civil and criminal cases, Administrative Court for cases involving administrative agencies, and Constitutional Court for constitutional cases. Four higher provincial courts, seventeen provincial and district courts, and numerous local courts.

Politics: Dominated by Social Democratic Party of Austria (Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs--SPÖ) and Austrian People's Party (Österreichs Volkspartei--ÖVP); government coalition of these two parties since 1987. Freedom Party of Austria (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs--FPÖ) gaining strength despite split in early 1993 with formation of The Liberal Forum (Das Liberale Forum). Environmentalists also represented in parliament.

Foreign Relations: Founding member of European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and member of United Nations (UN) and European Economic Area (EEA). Admission into European Union (EU) expected in January 1995.

Data as of December 1993